12 Jun

Planning For The Unexpected

By its very nature, the unexpected is difficult to plan for. That makes it easy to push down to the bottom of the to-do list while there are more pressing, very real, issues to address.

Taking a few easy steps to help your business prepare for unexpected challenges like changes in the market or natural disasters will help minimize your exposure and give you the peace of mind you need to grow your business.

Unexpected Planning

So, we’ve compiled some tips to prepare for…

Economic Downturn

Economic downturn is inevitable. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll experience seasons of prosperity as well as leaner years. Take advantage of the prosperous times by preparing for a future downturn to protect your business from the whims of the market.

Start by establishing an emergency fund that can go towards essential expenses in the event that revenue starts to slow. Once you’ve begun contributing to that “insurance policy” of sorts, set aside time to develop a business plan based on reduced expenses. What functions could be reduced or eliminated? How would you maximize your marketing budget without compromising operations?

Planning ahead will help you avoid making knee jerk, and potentially detrimental, decisions when a downturn arrives.

Disaster Preparedness

While half of business owners own an insurance policy in case of natural disaster, far fewer have taken the additional steps necessary to ensure business continuity in the event of flood, fire, or other disaster.

While your technology partner can help with this, it’s important to understand your company’s process for backing up files and data. Replicated cloud services are a great start to avoid disaster.

You might also consider making structural updates to your physical location if you are more prone to certain disasters – for example those in a flood zone.

Cybersecurity

As high-profile cyber attacks have been featured in the press in recent years, most companies have taken some steps to secure their data. However, you might be shocked to learn that less than half have secured their customer data and consistently dispose of confidential documents securely. Even fewer (27%) have trained their employees on confidentiality protocols.

Those numbers are truly shocking when you consider the volume of sensitive data transmitted each day.

At Softsys Hosting, we recommend implementing a third-party security management program managed by our professional team that is dedicated to keeping your data secure. More best practices for data security can be found here.

Online Reviews

For a largely digital world, businesses are disproportionately prepared for online reputation management. In fact, only 24% have a crisis-management plan in place to address negativity online.

Online Reviews

That number makes sense when you consider that nearly a third of businesses who have had a negative review believe that it led to a loss of business.

Competition

Planning for competitors encroaching on your market share is the first step to winning in business. After all, keeping the customers you have is often much less expensive than acquiring new customers. Prepare for new competition by maintaining a high customer retention rate and constantly re-assessing the value you provide to your customers.

*All statistics pulled from the Bank of America Business Advantage Spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report
09 Jun

How To Increase Customer Retention: What Do Customers Really Want?

Have you ever been on the phone with your utilities company trying to report a service issue? Or, better yet, trying to correct a billing error? It’s nearly impossible. These companies know that, in most cases, they aren’t going to lose a customer over these issues. What are you going to do? Go without water or electricity in your home?

Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t own a utility company, customer retention is increasingly crucial to sustainable business growth. In today’s hyper-competitive world, your customers have options. So, unless you have an unlimited marketing budget to continually find and convert new prospects, customer retention plays a big part in your growth plan. Thus, the million-dollar question: what do really customers want?

Customer Retention

In order to answer that question, it’s important to analyze your customer experience from beginning to end. Whether you go “undercover” as a client or hire a professional mystery shopper, getting a clear picture of your company’s service is the first step to improving your customer retention.

Ask yourself, is your customer experience:

Convenient

In a nutshell, do you make it easy for prospects to become customers? And, once they are customers, is it easy for them to contact you? This is especially important for businesses who have a low retention rate starting out. Each sign of inconvenience is another opportunity to lose customers.

Evaluate your processes, policies, customer-facing technology, and customer support functions to ensure each experience is as streamlined and simple as possible.

Approachable

Consider your own experience as a customer for other businesses. Which companies are you most adamant about using or recommending to others? Chances are, it’s those whose employees and team members are most helpful and approachable. An approachable experience not only makes each interaction more pleasant but also enables customers to get the most out of your product or service.

How to find an approach?

For example, customers who purchase hosting services from us are typically pleased with the level of service that they receive. However, when they contact us for any issue, we try to give examples for how they can get more for their money or other ways they can utilize our services. That extra level of approachability leads to higher customer retention.

Change is inevitable. So, don’t go through this process once and assume your company is in a good shape. Periodically review customer service logs, documenting any problems or hurdles that customers tend to face and determining a plan for addressing them.

Ultimately, customer retention is the basis for any company’s growth. If you’re confident that your current clients are happy and the revenue that they represent is steady, you are able to re-invest in growth strategies to target new clients.